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Motor industry calls for 'second numberplate' as sales plummet

An industry body says new car sales in April were down by almost a quarter compared to the same time last year.

Sales of new cars were down by 22 per cent in April when compared to sales last year.
Sales of new cars were down by 22 per cent in April when compared to sales last year.
Image: PA/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE BODY representing the Irish motor sales industry has called on the government to introduce a ‘second registration plate’ system in order to combat declining sales in the industry.

The call comes as the Society of the Irish Motor Industry released figures showing that the sale of new cars in April was 22 per cent lower than it was in April 2011 – a figure it said reflected the decline in footfall in showrooms around the country.

“While the industry is still trying to drive sales, the reality is that the peak selling period of 2012 is now over,” said SIMI director general Alan Nolan.

“Because of the seasonal nature of car sales, sales will continue to decline month on month for the rest of the year.”

SIMI has called on the government to counter the moves by introducing a ‘second numberplate’ system, where cars bought in the second half of the year would carry a slightly different format on their numberplate.

This would indicate more precisely when the car had been purchased – and address the fears of buyers who might not want to buy a car in the latter part of a year, because it could be seen as ‘a year old’ when the following year’s numberplates appear on newer cars.

“If there was, like in the UK, a second registration plate in June, the industry would now be gearing up for another busy sales period,” Nolan said.

“But because of the current system, retailers now have to wait until next January, another eight months, for any potential improvement in sales.”

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Nolan said the proposal would also stabilise the government’s tax revenue from the motor trade, add value to trade-ins for existing motorists, and help the sector to stabilise its employment levels, which can often fluctuate around busy times of the year.

SIMI said the move would raise €20 million alone through the sale of new cars it would prompt.

Read: Drop ’13′ from next year’s numberplates to save car industry, urges Healy-Rae >

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Gavan Reilly

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